Updated: Jul 30
If you are curious about how to teach French to kids but don’t know how or where to begin, music is a great place to start. Songs are a great way to organically learn language in context for children of all ages. The musical aspect makes learning a new language memorable and simple, as well as lots of fun. Children will pick up more vocabulary when it is presented in song than rote learning, and music aids the memory in learning. Ever had a catchy yet annoying song seemingly stuck in your head on repeat which you may not have even realised that you knew the words to? The melody and rhythm assists with the ability to remember the words. There are benefits to both singing and listening to music to assist in your child’s language acquisition, and it’s one of the best ways of teaching French to children.
Nursery rhymes and songs are short and sweet, easy to remember and ideal for learning basic vocabulary and action words. They are simple, fun and engaging, which makes them a perfect introduction to a foreign language for little ones. You can use songs to introduce vocabulary about colours, numbers, transport, body parts, animals...the list goes on! Quite a few well-known English nursery rhymes and songs also have French counterparts, which can be helpful as they may already be familiar to your child. Choosing songs with gestures helps to reinforce the vocabulary by associating it with an action, and has the added benefit of developing motor skills.
Nursery rhymes and songs assist your child to develop many different emerging skills, such as communication, social skills and learning new words. Music and language are closely related in that they both are characterised by strong rhythmic patterns. One way to view music is as creative play with sound; similarly, that’s also true of language learning. Singing encourages your child to play with sounds as well as introducing the concepts of rhyming, rhythm and repetition, which are key elements shared by both music and language learning.
An extra benefit of singing nursery rhymes with your little one is that music helps form a bond between parents and children. Shared experiences foster a sense of belonging and togetherness, which is great for bonding with your child. Your child will get even more value from an interactive experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re a native French speaker or not - you can both listen, learn, and sing along together!
Les Petits Tigres online classes offer a live interactive learning experience teaching French to babies and children through music and we have in person classes available in South East London. You can learn songs along with your little one through our online sessions or stream our song videos on demand with our online video library subscription.
You can also find a lot of French children’s music online. I recommend recordings that feature real instruments and voices over computer generated music. Didier Jeunesse Comptines pour chanter is a lovely series of books with CDs and they also have albums for digital downloads - try Mes comptines maternelle featuring ten classic French children’s songs.